RORC Griffin in 2024 | Opportunity Knocks

40 young sailors to join one of two 3-day selection weekends in The Solent. The candidates will be assessed for their current sailing skills on the new Sun Fast 30 One Design.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club has big plans to promote youth sailing in 2024. Over the years, through the generosity of RORC members, the Griffin Fund has assisted in providing race boats and experienced sailors to improve young sailors’ understanding of offshore racing.

In March 2024, an exciting evolution will take place to invite 40 young sailors to join one of two   3-day selection weekends in The Solent. The candidates will be assessed for their current sailing skills on the new Sun Fast 30 One Design and their attitude and abilities to be good team players ashore and afloat – an important consideration when racing offshore. Although a selection process, all of the sailors taking part will learn a lot from the weekend. After the selection trials,  20 sailors will be chosen to form 4 crews that will train and compete as the RORC Griffin Teams of 2024. Each team will race two RORC races, and either the Cowes – St Malo or the Drheam Cup.

Sailors 18-30 years of age (as of 1st Jan 2024) who wish to participate in the selection weekend are invited to attend a Zoom Webinar on January 11th, 2024. Sailors should complete this simple form, to gain access to the Zoom Webinar.  

Sign Up for Zoom Webinar

Full applications for a place at a selection weekend will be opened on the 12th January, and closed on the 31st January.  Invitations to selection weekends will be made before 10th February

A nominal payment will be required from sailors attending the 3-day selection weekends. A further contribution will be required toward the cost of racing. However, Sponsors and supporters are being sought to keep these costs as low as possible. Companies and individuals wishing to support Griffin in 2024 would be welcome, please get in touch for further information.

Shirley Roberston & Dee Caffari © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

The Griffin training and selection weekend will be run on behalf of RORC by FourthCape, a Cowes based sailing project management company headed by Charles Darbyshire. Once through selection, the race team will be coached by a group of World Class sailors, eager to provide exceptional input. 

Ian Walker © Ian Roman

These include a team of North Sails experts led by Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper and Double Olympic Silver Medallist Ian Walker. Offshore expert sailors Dee Caffari who has six circumnavigations and Steve Hayles who has competed in six round the world races, will also provide expert guidance. The Griffin Initiative is also delighted to welcome Double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson to the programme. Shirley has been competing on the Offshore Two-Handed Circuit now for several seasons, which will only add more strength to her valuable contribution to the project, helping advise those looking to make the leap from short course dinghy sailing to racing offshore.

© The Magenta Project

The Griffin Initiative also welcomes The Magenta Project which is a UK Registered Charity that develops pathways and opportunities for more equity and inclusion in sailing, leading with gender. Meg Reilly, Executive Director of The Magenta Project explains why they are keen to support RORC’s latest youth programme. “The Magenta Project is very happy to support the Griffin Initiative, as we share a similar mission to mentor and develop the next generation of sailing talent,” commented Megan. “The team at RORC  support our goal of having at least one female skipper in the programme and of creating more leadership opportunities for women in the offshore sailing world. Through Dee and Shirley’s involvement,  more young female sailors have these two role models to learn from, as they build skills and confidence to become future leaders onboard."

Sun Fast 30 © Jean-Baptiste Epron / Jeanneau – Multiplast

Jim Driver, the new Chair of Griffin has been involved with youth sailing for over a decade, supporting sailors in the various RYA pathway classes. On the race track, father and daughter Jim and Ellie Driver, race Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper. Jim Driver commented: “I am delighted to be involved with the Griffin Initiative and I am looking forward to developing on the excellent foundation that has been created over the last few years.”

For more information about the Griffin Initiative as a sailor or supporter contact:

History of the RORC Griffin Initiative

Sevenstar Yacht Transport
Salcombe Gin